I started to explore how I could move forward from applying dissected materials onto the surface of a piece to a more subtle form of destroying or concealing the imagery of a photograph. I looked into the shredding of documents as a secular means of destroying information. The regimented format of this pulp when processed is very controlled and I became interested with the idea of introducing the time consuming laborious nature of my work by possibly directing and cutting down images myself as a way of commenting on a process which might be motioned by someone working under forced conditions.

Documentary Photography
Ruth Linnell
Documentary Photography
Ruth Linnell

When experimenting with the manual shredding I discovered that the process was going to take significantly longer than I had previously expected – which obviously is a part of the piece’s nature, however, with the show only a week away I’m becoming worried I won’t have the time to complete my work.

Sketchbook Work by Ruth Linnell

Things I need to consider:

  • Am I happy with manually cutting all images when they won’t nescisarily be all the same size and to the standard which might be enforced if they were in a Labour camp.
  • Would I be more effective if I were to use a machine to shred the info on a scale could be more impactful than the manual shredding as time constraints might mean I can’t shred as many images as I would want?
  • Could I increase the volume of information by considering including written info such as documents and articles which have been written and including these so not just images of forced labour which I’m exposing?
  • The manually cut images seem a lot flatter than those which have been cut on machine so their volume is significantly less than manufacture and therefore will take more time to create a large volume.
  • Do I want to present the work in sacks in the middle of the space? Or would presenting the shreddings against the wall or on the floor be more effective in people seeing the work?
  • Do they need to see the images at all? Or is it more about the concept- if so I could include whatever images I wanted which weren’t related and no one would know? Does this matter? 

I think it’s important to make sure that the work is genuine even when they can’t see the images or text. I think I could consider changing the format as time is restrictive.  I either go for scale and quantity being the most important by using a machine to shred the work or I think about presenting manually shredded images against the walls by gluing directly onto it in circular and irregular forms as I have done in my sketch book presentations.

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